Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State literally returned to the classroom last Wednesday at the Access More mentoring master class. Setting the tone for the business forum, he spoke passionately on the basic principles of business management with strong emphasis on ethics and ethos of entrepreneurship in an emerging knowledge economy.
The forum, held at the Stanel World Event Hall, Awka, also attracted top-flight resource persons such as Obi of Onitsha Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Prof. Pat Utomi, Emeka Okwuosa, an engineer; Innocent Chukwuma, Mrs. Uju Ifejika, Prof. Lilian Orogbu, and Victor Etuokwu representing Access Bank MD Herbert Nwigwe.
Obiano, who warned the youth to stay out of drugs and cultism, urged them to always apply what they learnt because knowledge alone is not power but knowledge applied or utilised. He said drugs and cultism were capable of leading youths to hell on earth and beyond.
“You must all imbibe the culture of ICT, creative economy and artificial intelligence, which is where the world is headed. Interestingly Anambra has the most brilliant youths anywhere in the world. And we need to channel that in a manner that makes sense,” he said.
He also encouraged the youth to key into the various opportunities provided at the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism as well as Ministry of Youth Empowerment.
He observed that what made us rich in the last century would not make us rich in the current century except there is a paradigm shift. This, he said, must start with the review of school curricular that would emphasise where the world is headed or it will be difficult to compete in the global market.
“The era of what our old seasoned businessmen are doing won’t last. Recall that many years ago, our businessmen were used to doing business under the tag “and Sons Limited”. And when they die, the business dies. Unfortunately, most of them are still not learning any lesson. That’s why I have a department in the Ministry of Finance charged with educating these rich businessmen on continuous basis. So we try to introduce them to capital market, which is the way to go,” he added.
Obiano told the youth that they are the leaders of today and not tomorrow but that all they need to do is get prepared and know where the world is headed. ,
The keynote speaker, CEO, Oilserv Group, Emeka Okwuosa, said the foundation of success in business is built on the principles and ethos of entrepreneurship, effects of infrastructure (availability or absence of it) and human capacity development.
He urged the youth to believe in themselves as they can become what they want to be in life.
“Believe in yourself. Never allow challenges to deter you. Show resilience and tenacity in pursuing your goal. Acquire necessary skill and education. Maintain high integrity in your dealings. Maintain good balance between hard work and physical ability. Show compassion and love to the less privileged while making sure your mode of help does not create laziness in those you help. Teach people how to fish and not giving them fish all the time. And above all, trust in the teachings of our Lord Jesus,”
Okwuosa believed that the economic growth of Nigeria can be facilitated and accelerated by the provision of articulated infrastructural framework. He, however, noted that Nigeria is not doing well in infrastructural development, adding that in 2017 report of World Economic Growth, ranks Nigeria out of 137 countries 127 in road quality; 125 in transport quality; 132 in electricity supply; 120 in education; 118 in mathematics/science; and 112 in innovation. This report according to Okwuosa, does not mean Nigeria is doomed, but that ‘if we do not act decisively to reverse this, our future is in danger.’
“But all this can be reversed. Yet, this report shows that there is a great opportunity in trying to reverse this. We need entrepreneurship, business opportunities, growth of the economy to be able to achieve this.
It is not all negative. The availability of required infrastructure certainly aids the success of our business. However, we must remember that lack of infrastructure presents opportunities of creating entrepreneurial responses that lead to success,” he said.
On how to remedy the situation of human capacity development, he said: “We must ensure that the objectives and strategies are clear and ensure quality universal education for the youth. Develop incentive programmes to engage private investors, revive post-secondary school trade centres and technical colleges to train the youth in skills required to secure employment. Improve teacher quality, review school curricular and encourage monitoring varsities and other higher institutions.”
Royal father of the Day, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha stated that though Nigeria is still a young country because its population which is about 60 percent youths, this can make or mare the country.
He said with good education, creativity and opportunities, this population can move Nigeria to next level. “If it does not happen, and delinquencies set in, the country is at risk because the youth are restive. We must do something to realise the dream of standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world,” he warned.
Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism Mrs Sally Mbanefo described this year’s festival as a huge investment by the state on human capacity development especially the youths. “The masterclass mentoring programme is indeed a master stroke by this administration to empower the youths of Anambra. The calibre of discussants leaves one in no doubt that the session will be a turning point for the participants. It is an absolute pleasure working with Governor Obiano and it is like working with a genius,” she said.
CEO, Stanel Group, Mr. Stanley Uzochukwu said the world is serious in building an entrepreneurial culture for the youth and that any effort to deliberately create sustainable business owners is seen as an uncommon step towards changing societal narrative.
He stressed that entrepreneurship is important as it has the ability to change life, improve standard of living, helps to drive change and innovation.
According to him, the theme of the forum is Become More, which is why we got seasoned resource persons to share experiences with the youth here gathered. He noted that one of the reasons for the forum is to tell everyone that there is room to become more.
“This forum is strategic because it is holding at the end of the year. I want to trust God that by 2020, we would have grown a capacity to become more,” he added.
This year’s Homecoming Festival also featured musical concert that attracted musicians such as 2Baba, Rude Boy, and Funny Boy; Xmas carols, Street Carnival/ Masquerade Festival, Ikolo concert, art exhibition, and performances by Anambra Cultural Troupe. This festival will run till January 3 next year with A Night with Flavour Nabania on the last day at Stanel World, Awka.